Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Is Quickbooks for me?

We get asked this many times is it really necessary for me to use Quickbooks when I am a small business or independent contractor?

How I  usually answer that is with some questions to the business owner. Depending how they answer their questions they can see for themselves if it for them or not.

1) Do you have a method of keeping your business financial records? 

2) Do you have many different places in which you keep this information? Is it all over the place or is it in 1 centralized place you can easily access and go to?

3)  Do you have a way to easily reconcile your business accounts?

4) Do you have a way to compare your last years business to the current year ? Also do you have the ability to have all vital reports at your finger tips when you need it?

5)  Do you have an easy way to look at graphs, customer information, open accounts receivable  invoices, accounts payable, leads, time tracking, mileage?

6) Do you have a valid tool to help you with planning growth for your business by seeing the reports, the graphs the statistics you need from a financial standpoint. Do you have the ability to work up a budget for your business?

7)  Can you see the big picture of your business with what you are currently using, can  you see trends in services requested or not requested, how long does it take for my clients to pay, who are my best clients, what am I currently spending on advertising & marketing, what is my lead conversion rate? Do you have any idea where your business is at today, if you needed to know right away?

These are just a few questions I will ask.  If you wish to have a growing business then it is crucial to have an accounting system that is reliable, up to date, is not time consuming  when looking for important needed information, give you peace of mind and most importantly see where you are going because if you do not know where you are going then it is likely you will be spinning your wheels which can inhibit strong financial growth in your business. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Banks, Banks and more Banks. How do I choose a bank?

This is a question that we see regularly. What bank is the best?  The questions I ask is what are your personal needs and business needs?   Banks pretty much provide the same products it is the deliverance of that product that is the important piece of choosing a bank.

There are serveral different types of financial institutions
  • Credit Unions
  • Community Banks local owned and rooted in a local community
  • Regional Banks- You may find that the company owns banks in a certain part of the country like in a specific area of the country that may spread across a few states close to the customer.
  • National Banks- These banks you find throughout the USA they may refer to their banks as "Stores" because they have many locations available to customers. 
 What are your needs in develiverance  of the service What am I looking for ?

  • Do I want a specific person I can call when I have a question?
  • Do I need a bank in one specific geographic location or do I need one that I can find throughout the country? Do I want one near my home or business?
  • What is your fee structure?  Do I need to keep a minimum balance?  What is that minimum balance?
  • Do you use ATM's regularly?  What are your fees? Do I have to use specific ATM's?
  • Do I want a bank that has great online Capabilities?  Does it download in Quickbooks or Quicken? Can I see copies of my cleared checks on line? Do I want automatic Bill Paying? 
  • What are your hours?  Do you have banks that have Sunday hours? 
  • Are the monthly statements clear and easy to read?  Can they be downloaded from online? How long  can I go back and look at my statements on line?
  • Will I be in contact with my bank on a regular basis for loans, or other products offered?  Do I want someone who knows my needs and I can sit down and talk to about that?
  • Do I want a bank that is good with working with small businesses?  Do they offer workshops, community education, Small Business loans, A knowledgeable person I can work with about my small business needs and questions? 
These are just a few things that you can ask. Banks can provide us with a great service and finding one that we can work with is key in getting the most out of the services offered.  It may be a good idea to get referrals, visit , call and interview several different banks before making a decision on one that works for you and your needs.  It is an important decision one that affects your day to day business and personal financial needs.  Take time to find out more by talking with someone and not just by a radio, tv ad or brochure. The key is what is important to YOU .

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The New Year is fast approaching

The New Year will be here before you know it.  Are you ready for year end from a Tax & Accounting Standpoint? 

Here is a Checklist of some Questions to Ask Yourself
  • Have you made an appointment to see your CPA for year end planning?
  • Do you have your records organized?
  • Do have an organized Accounting System?
  • Are you up to date with your day to day accounting?
  •  Do you have your mileage detail logged ?
  •  Have you met with your financial advisor?
  • Do you know what reciepts you need to save for your records?
  • Is there a piece of equipment you are looking at purchasing to help your business?

These are just a few questions to look at to prepare for the year end.  It is holiday time and it is easy to overlook this important time of year but this is a crucial time for many individuals and businesses.